University leaders accused the Venezuelan government on Thursday of provoking violence to justify military occupations of campuses where students are leading protests against President Hugo Chavez.
Gunmen opened fire on students returning from a peaceful march Wednesday in which 80,000 people denounced a constitutional referendum planned for December that would expand Chavez's power. At least eight people were injured, including one by gunfire, officials said.
Higher Education Minister Luis Acuna offered Wednesday to send in troops to quell the violence, but university authorities quickly rejected the offer as an attempted power grab.
"We won't fall into the trap," said Eleazar Narvaez, rector of the Central University of Venezuela.